OAKVILLE, Ont. - The title defence of the Sheridan Bruins men's rugby team (4-3 OCAA) came to a crashing halt after suffering a 24-14 quarter-final loss to St. Lawrence that knocked them out of the OCAA playoffs .
"The guys did what they could. We worked really hard - especially the last two or three weeks - but today wasn't our day," head coach Rick Bria said.
St. Lawrence was able to monopolize possession of the ball throughout the 80 minutes, neutralizing the Bruins' attack while slowing wearing down their defensive resolve. The visitors scored a try midway through the opening half, but were unable to add anything more until near the interval and it proved to be a critical swing.
On the final play of the first half, D'Shawn Bowen missed a St. Lawrence penalty kick, but they re-claimed possession on the door step after a Sheridan turnover, ultimately punching it in to take a 12-0 lead - and a boatload of momentum - into halftime.
The Bruins steadied themselves early in the second half and got on the board with Justin Tota powering his way to touch it down, trimming their deficit to five.
But that would be as close as the Double Blue would get, as a 70th minute try from the visitors dimmed the lights and a 78th minute touch down, shut them off. Tristian Hylton-Hastings added a try at the death to round out the scoring.
Although he notes that injury did force their hand into some varied lineups this year, Bria is hopeful that the ensuing experience gained by some members of the team will pay dividends next season.
"We did not have the same starting lineup for any game all year, but everyone that got on the field did well and that's going to be huge," he said. "So we're fortunate that we have a lot of guys coming back and that many of them have a lot more experience now than at the beginning of the year."